How to Increase Employee Retention in the Manufacturing Industry

There have been countless studies detailing the cost implications of employee turnover in the workplace. Between the hours spent interviewing and onboarding new folks, plus the institutional knowledge that leaves when an employee exits, all of this translates to dollars lost. Industries across the board see similar patterns with employee turnover, which is why it’s so critical to keep an eye on your business and hone in on how you can hire and retain the best talent.

According to data gathered by Gallup, the cost of replacing a full-time employee can range anywhere from half to twice that person’s annual salary. There’s the price of recruiting, onboarding, and training; operational delays; the negative impact on customer/client experience; and let’s not forget the impact that turnover has on the morale of your existing staff. It’s also important to bear in mind that almost 40 percent of participants in a Work Institute study noted that they left their jobs within the first year of employment, and 75 percent of those folks left within the first six months.

Why Do Great Employees Leave?

As a business owner, it’s important to understand the “why” behind employee turnover. Quitting a job can be a monumental life change, and people don’t tend to take it lightly. If you’re equipped with the knowledge of why your great employees are leaving, you’ll be better prepared to make the adjustments needed to give your staff an outstanding work experience. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, nine of the most common reasons employees quit are: low pay, lack of career advancement opportunities, not feeling respected, childcare issues, no flexibility, not-so-great benefits, culture, burnout, and poor managers.

How Do You Keep Great Employees Around?

Your employees are your most valuable asset. So to keep top talent around, here are some areas you can focus on.

Invest in their careers. It’s tough to find a job these days with a clearly defined path to advancement. However, a LinkedIn study found that 94 percent of those interviewed would stay at a job longer if investments were made to their professional development. Do your part as a manager by keeping a constant eye out for training sessions, industry conferences, and mentor opportunities. Set aside time with your staff to talk about their career goals–both long- and short-term.

Keep an eye on management. A lot of people leave their jobs not because of the work or their peers, but because of their bosses–a toxic manager can do a significant amount of damage to your business. Consider hosting skip-level meetings with high performers to get a feel for how they’re “managing their manager.” Performance reviews with your managers should also be taking into account management skills, and training needs to be an option for supervisors at every level of the corporate ladder. Don’t forget to keep an eye on trends: if you are seeing a high turnover of employees who all report to the same manager, that’s a glaring red flag.

Recognize success. Feeling valued at home is one thing. But feeling valued at work? That’s incredible–and critical for keeping your best employees motivated. Folks are a lot less likely to leave their jobs if they feel recognized for what they do, but you’re hard-pressed to find a ton of workplaces that really have a culture that highlights individual successes. While bonuses and perks are preferred when possible, recognizing a “job well done” doesn’t have to be monetary. A department-wide announcement, a small certificate, and even bonus time off are all easy enough and highly appreciated. Talk to your management and make sure they also realize the importance of a simple pat on the back.

Revisit salaries. This is a big one. In today’s landscape, employees have the upper hand–and money is obviously a huge reason folks start looking for greener pastures. With inflation at a premium, employees everywhere are taking home less money–through no fault of their own. Wages have to keep up, or else you risk losing some valuable people to your toughest competition. Be transparent about the pay and bonus structure at your business. It’s also essential to continually keep tabs on industry compensation standards. And whenever possible, consider monetary rewards for your top talent. Your people want to know you care, and money speaks volumes.

Are you making employee retention a top priority at your business? By creating a solid strategy to mitigate and prevent employee turnover, you’re taking a strong step in the right direction for your business. You’ll reduce costs, retain top talent, and keep the spirits of your existing staff high–all of which come together to equal success.

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